When I was a little girl, I was a Brownie and then graduated to the Girl Scouts. I was proud to wear my uniform each week, work to earn my badges and attend the meetings with my friends. I learned to sing the national anthem for our scout meetings. When my family moved to Portland, Oregon, being in the Girl Scouts helped me make friends and feel more at home.
As any Girl Scout knows, the biggest fund-raiser of the year is cookie sales and there is a lot of pressure to sell the most boxes. I was incredibly shy as a child and this was the hardest part of year for me. Unlike most of my friend’s parents, my dad refused to take orders at the office. He believed that it was my responsibility to make all the sales myself. Needless to say, I was never the high-seller in my troop.
I had two favorites, the shortbreads (Trefoils) and the coconut cookies called Samoas or Caramel deLites. Today’s Chocolate Monday treat is a spin on the Samoa … the cookie has become a tart! That’s right folks, you get the all the flavors of the cookies in a classy, creamy, coconutty tart that is the cat’s meow for coconut lovers!
Today is Secret Recipe Club day at The Heritage Cook. This month I was lucky to be assigned Love and Flour written by the delightful LeAndra. Full of a wide variety of recipes that will make your mouth water, you will spend many happy hours perusing her site. I have several of her recipes on my “to-make” list and variations may show up in future Chocolate Mondays, LOL!
LeAndra and I both share the love of home cooking and are indebted to our mothers and grandmothers for their guidance and training. We both inherited our love of cooking and if we didn’t live 3000 miles apart, would probably be regular visitors at each others houses, sharing recipes and sampling our latest baking creations!
While many of her recipes were tempting and caught my eye, the Samoa Tart is the one that deeply resonated with me. I hadn’t thought of my years in the scouts in a long time and when I saw this recipe, the memories came flooding back. Some painful, some thought provoking, but most brought big smiles to my face. Eating this tart was like taking a walk down memory lane.
LeAndra’s recipe includes a beautiful crust, but in order to make this gluten-free, I substituted my favorite nut crust that I use with cheesecakes. It worked perfectly and the almonds complemented the flavor of the coconut without making the tart too sweet. If you don’t have to avoid gluten, give her crust a try – it looks like a real winner!
While I was making the filling, my house smelled like a candy factory and I was in heaven! The caramel is made with coconut milk, giving it a subtle coconut flavor that is delicious. My mind is swirling with ideas of how to utilize this caramel in other desserts for the holidays. But what I love most is that if you are cooking for people who cannot eat dairy, this is a dairy-free caramel! If you want to make this a wholly dairy-free dessert, swap out the butter in the crust and chocolate drizzle with alternatives.
If you are a coconut lover, this is the dessert for you. If you want even more chocolate, you could spread the entire surface with a layer of ganache and create a dessert that would be close to the flavors of a Mounds bar. Hmmm, that might just be in my future, LOL!
Enjoy this wonderful dessert and thank you LeAndra for a wonderful new recipe!!
Happy Chocolate Monday everyone!
By using the almond crust, this tart is gluten-free!
Coconut Caramel Cookie Tart (SRC) Gluten-Free
Adapted recipe from Love and Flour
Yield: about 10 to 12 servings
1-1/2 cups almond flour/meal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Dulce de Coco Filling
1 (13.66 oz / 403 ml) can unsweetened coconut milk, well shaken
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp milk or coconut milk
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp organic vegetable oil or butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan; set aside.
Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour/meal with the sugar. Add the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles moist sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and part way up the sides. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Prepare the Dulce de Coco and Filling: In a 3 to 4-quart saucepan, combine the coconut milk, brown sugar and salt, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 20 minutes remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking at a low simmer for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick and syrupy.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool. When just warm to the touch, stir in the coconut and milk, whisking until smooth. Taste and if it is too sweet for you, whisk in another pinch of salt. Note: You can make the Dulce de Coca filling in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave about 15 seconds to soften slightly before continuing with the recipe.
Pour the filling into the cooled almond crust, smoothing the top with an off-set spatula. Set aside while you make the ganache.
Make the Ganache: In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with the oil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat when most of the chips have melted and continue stirring off the heat until smooth and completely melted.
Decorate Bars: Drizzle ganache over the top of the bars. Let the chocolate set up and cool before cutting tart into wedges and serving.
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